We, Willow Pearson and Eric Ramstad, are The Watermoons. Our music can be described as dharma infused acoustic contemporary. The heart of our musical collaboration is Willow’s poetic lyrics and sensuous vocals mixed with Eric’s vital, rhythmic, acoustic guitar work. The songs draw on the themes of compassion, wisdom, friendship, loss, beauty, confusion, revelation, realization, the spiritual quest and the power of love. Our music, like our friendship, is rooted in the Buddhist path of Bodhicitta.
We met at a little dharma center in the Bay Area called Sukhasiddhi Foundation in 2006/7. Willow was traveling there…first from Boulder, Colorado….and then from Seattle, Washington. At dharma retreats in Northern California we began to sing the songs of realization together, by yogi-saints Milarepa and Machig Labdron. A bodhi seed between was planted.
Then we started to chat between meditation sessions about the Buddhist practice that we immersed ourselves in, getting support from one another. And we began to share about the crazy wisdom that brought us to this path. The seed began to open… Then Willow heard a few tracks from Eric’s solo work…
The craft and depth of Eric’s rock/metal pulse quickened Willow to his sheer talent, not only as a player and a composer but also as a self taught recording artist, from the start. His acoustic guitar heart inspired Willow’s singer-songwriter soul from her first listen to his solo work. Eric took note of Willow’s spontaneous poetry and her pure delight in both performing the songs of realization and sketching out original tunes on the spot. The path took on new dimension from there…music, dharma friendship, love, and practice. The Red Boat carries it all across the water.
Before meeting, we each had followed the path of music lifelong…
Eric – guitarist, bass player, composer and producer – picked up the guitar at age twelve. His first influences include Van Halen, Jimi Hendrix and Led Zeppelin, followed by Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, Michael Hedges, and Bruce Cockburn, together with metal bands Black Sabbath, Metallica and Tool. The Path of Milarepa was Eric’s first CD release. It takes the listener through a musical rendering of the life of the great 11th century Tibetan yogi/saint, Milarepa and his transformation from a dark path of black magic to full and complete enlightenment. Eric’s solo production entity, Buddhacore, blends a modern rock/metal vibe with Buddhist ideas and ethnic soundscapes.
A vocal artist, recording artist, and composer, Willow’s original solo work, and her work with former band Willow and Trio, draws on the diverse influences of pop, alternative rock, jazz, soul and world music, together with her work in the therapeutic healing arts. Her musical voice is led by lyricism, harmony, and improvisation-within-form. A Canadian-American singer/songwriter, her musical spirit is at home wherever the human heart beats. Willow’s solo production entity, Lionessroars, published her first two albums, Burning and Bowing to Venus. Two of her most treasured vocal influences are musical geniuses Rhiannon and Rachel Bagby.
Willow is known for her dynamic yet intimate presence in live performance. The range of expression that Willow brings to her music—vocally, lyrically, and emotionally—is the essence of her craft. Whether performing solo, with accompaniment, with full band, or now in musical partnership, she does not so much ‘play’ music as she does embody it—surrendering to music’s descent.
In many ways Red Boat and Dreaming Sea bring out the best of our solo work and gives it a new depth of space in which to come ever more fully alive.
“Mistake after mistake we tread the unmistaken path.”
– Khenpo Tsültrim Gyamtso Rinpoche
“Let go of what has passed
Let go of what may come
Let go of what is happening now
Don’t try to figure anything out
Don’t try to make anything happen
Relax, right now, and rest”
-– Tilopa’s six lines to Naropa (his heart disciple)
“Those who know mind’s nature
Enjoy the five senses’ pleasures
But do not stray from the nature of reality.”
“Yoga begins with listening.”
– Richard Freeman
“Longing is fullness, already realized, seeking itself, full circle.”
“The ocean of longing,
the sea of your deeper want,
the gravity well of your own desire,
the place you would fall becomes
the place you are held.”
– from Millennium, by David Whyte, in Fire of the Earth, Many Rivers Press, www.davidwhyte.com
Row row row your boat
Gently down the stream
Merrily merrily merrily merrily
Life is but a dream